Mary came to be known as a very strict teacher who was not afraid of handing down the harsh punishment of lashes. Stealing, fighting, lying, having dirty fingernails, and interacting with girls were some of the offenses that could warrant lashes. Mary also became known for another reason. She met a woman in a general store whose grandparents were African-American and later they both went to a hotel to have a meal together. This offended some of the guests; some of them got up and left in protest. This caused a small scandal in the community, with those opposing and supporting Mary. Those opposing wanted her to lose her job as a teacher. In the end she did, marrying a supporter of hers, Ephraim Morse in 1866.